According to Krasilovsky, pasta is a low-cost, center-of-the-plate ingredient that delivers high value perception for guests. It can also be used as a vehicle for food that would otherwise be discarded as waste: vegetable and meat trimmings can be used for sauce or for presentation. Revenue from the pasta and noodles segment amounts to more than $6.208 billion for 2018, and is expected to grow another 1.5 percent next year, according to data from Statista.
“Pasta is easy to execute, profitable, and it provides an endlessly variable platform for chefs to showcase a brand’s individuality,” Krasilovsky says.
Despite the popularity of classic dishes incorporating marinara sauce and familiar pasta shapes such as spaghetti, penne, and rotini—or perhaps because of it—many operators have found success by incorporating new preparations and surprising ingredients into their pasta offerings.
“There’s a world of opportunity in the array of pasta shapes available on the market,” Krasilovsky says. “There’s a lot of sameness out there in terms of the cuts and types, but just using a more unique shape—pipettes or campanelles instead of elbows in a mac and cheese, for example—can help a restaurant to differentiate itself.”